F1: Verstappen ‘on another planet’

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F1: Verstappen 'on another planet'

Max Verstappen spearheaded a Red Bull one-two in Belgium to strengthen his and his team's grip on this season's championship.

It was a comfortable victory in the end for Verstappen, who started from 14th on the grid but carved up the field in dominant fashion. It was the lowest position from which the Dutchman has won, eclipsing his victory from 10th place in Hungary in the previous round.

Verstappen's teammate, Sergio Perez, finished second with Ferrari's Carlos Sainz, who started on pole, in third. Charles Leclerc, Verstappen's nearest challenger in the title race, struggled in the other Ferrari to find his rhythm after starting 15th.

A late battle with Alpine's Fernando Alonso saw Leclerc overtake the two-time world champion to snatch fifth, behind the Mercedes of George Russell.

Seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton retired on the opening lap after his Mercedes collided with Alonso's car, an incident which prompted Alonso to label Hamilton "an idiot" over the team radio.

"This guy only knows how to drive starting in first," the Spaniard said later, with Hamilton admitting he was at fault for the collision, which saw the Briton attempt to dart past his former McLaren teammate and into second, although the space wasn't there.

Verstappen 'untouchable'

Verstappen has now won nine of this season's 14 races and sits 92 points ahead of Perez who has taken over second spot from Leclerc, who is a further three points behind.

"Once we were in the lead, it was all about managing everything," the 24-year-old said. "This whole weekend has been incredible. It's been a weekend I couldn't imagine before, but we want more of them so we'll keep on working hard."

Perez added: "Max was on another planet today, he was flying, he was untouchable."

Verstappen was fastest in qualifying but was one of eight drivers to be relegated down the grid after implementing a power unit change ― and the others couldn't keep pace with the Red Bulls.

Perez helped keep the chasing pack at bay but both had a comfortable afternoon as everyone struggled to handle the sheer pace of the Red Bulls.

Next up: Verstappen's home Grand Prix in the Netherlands on September 4.

F1: Verstappen 'on another planet'

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